Plans for classic motorcar museum near Chipping Norton given green light despite concerns about 'intolerable noise'

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Detailed plans for a new classic motorcar museum have been given the green light despite ongoing concerns about “intolerable noise from constant racing”.

A new application had been submitted on behalf of Peter Mullin, owner of the Mullin Automotive Museum in California, to West Oxfordshire District Council in March last year.

This was after the American collector was granted outline planning permission in 2020.

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Mr Mullin, who died last year at the age of 82, wanted his “one-of-a-kind museum” to combine the “spirit and history of the British people’s love for the motorcar with their passion for the beauty and presentation of the English countryside”.

An impression of the museum and clubhouse building proposed by the new owner of the Mullin Automative MuseumAn impression of the museum and clubhouse building proposed by the new owner of the Mullin Automative Museum
An impression of the museum and clubhouse building proposed by the new owner of the Mullin Automative Museum

The newly-approved reserved matters application includes more detailed plans for redevelopment of the brownfield site on land at Enstone Airfield in Chipping Norton.

The site is on former RAF airfield land which was previously occupied by Vision Motorsport and included a rally circuit and performance car motorsport circuit.

At the centre of the proposals is a building called The Crescent that will house the museum, a members’ club, members’ rooms, an events space, 16 apartments and 20 residences.

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Mr Mullin’s first application, which would have led to 200 classic cars being housed at the museum, was withdrawn in September 2018.

It had more than 180 objections, many of them from locals living near the proposed site.

The reserved matters application which has now been approved includes proposed alterations which go beyond what is usually permitted under a reserved matters application.

The crescent building will contain bronze cladding and natural stone walling and its size and scale is described as “comparable to both Blenheim Palace and Houghton Hall”, the latter being in Norfolk.

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A total of 70 objections were listed on the West Oxfordshire District Council planning portal and posters previously appeared in the local area urging residents to submit more.

One objector said: “The noise from constant racing will be intolerable.

“We will no longer be able to sit in our gardens in the summer without the threat of constant car engine sounds.”

Another added: “This development will completely change a rural area bringing noise pollution from a track used 312 days a year, light pollution, overcrowded roads, blocked roads on the 10 days of events – even more holiday homes and not homes for residents.”

Mr Mullin had said: “The emphasis of the detailed proposals is to ensure that the museum meets all of the Strategic Goals set out for the project and that it is the finest of its kind anywhere in the world.”

The applicant now needs to successfully discharge any remaining planning conditions but passage of the reserved matters application means the application has effectively been approved.